If you’re coming up to your next Earth Science unit and struggling to find resources, we’ve got a treat for you! Teaching concepts like weathering and erosion in the classroom can be challenging as geological processes are topics that cannot be understood simply by reading. Erosion and weathering are perfect topics for engaging your students in hands-on learning. To help you start your planning, we’ve gathered 20 of the best weathering and erosion activities you can try in your classroom!
1. Weathering and Erosion Vocabulary Cards
Beginning a new unit is the perfect time to pre-teach new vocabulary. Word walls are great tools for building vocabulary. A weathering and erosion word wall is a great way to encourage the use of academic vocabulary.
Learn More: Teach Starter
2. Physical Weathering Lab
This weathering station activity demonstrates physical weathering by having students observe how “rocks” (sugar cubes) become weathered by water and the shifting of other rocks (fish tank gravel). All you need is sugar cubes and a cup or bowl with rocks.
Learn More: The First Grade Roundup
3. Erosion in Action with Video Labs
Sometimes, materials and lab space are unavailable, so watching digital versions of demonstrations is a good option. This video shows how runoff and deposition change the area around water sources. It’s the perfect resource for demonstrating the effects of erosion.
Learn More: The Good and the Beautiful Homeschool Science
4. Draw a Diagram of an Erosion Mountain
This activity is a hit with students who are visual learners or budding artists. A great way for students to summarize their learning is to have them draw and label mountainous landforms, along with different examples of erosion.
Learn More: Young Naturalist’s Club
5. Create an Agents of Erosion Comic Book
Engage your writers and artists with a fun combination of science, writing, and art. This fun storyboard comic strip was created using Storyboard That! We love the idea of turning geologic processes into stories.
Learn More: Storyboard That!
6. Cookie Rocks- A Yummy Earth Science Station
This tasty science activity helps students see the effects of different kinds of erosion. Students discover how wind erosion, water, ice, and other destructive forces change landforms using a cookie as a natural landform. This would be a sweet way for students to see how the rate.
Source: E is for Explore
7. How is Soil Made?
Looking for lesson plans? Slide decks like these hold loads of information, digital science activities, and opportunities for discussion, so students learn how all of the soil on Earth is created from weathering!
Learn More: Teach Starter
8. Take a Crash Course on Erosion Vs Weathering
This fun Crash Course video teaches students the differences between erosion and weathering. This video compares erosion vs weathering and shows real-world examples of erosion by water and other elements.
Learn More: Crash Course Kids
9. Deposition for Kids Lesson Lab
This experiment of erosion and deposition activity has students use simple materials such as soil, paint trays, and water to identify how the slope of land affects the erosion rate. Students experimented and observed how erosion differed when they changed the angle of their trays.
Learn More: Westdale Heights
10. Try a “Sweet” Rock Cycle Lab Activity
While going through weathering and erosion, your students have learned that all that weathered material moves into the rock cycle. This lab activity helps students understand the rock cycle by likening three sweet treats to rock types.
Learn More: Our Journey Westward
11. Starburst Rock Cycle Activity
Here’s another fun activity to help your students understand how erosion and weathering feed into the rock cycle. Students use starburst candy, heat, and pressure to form three rock types. Look at that example of sedimentary rock formation! Those are some fun rock layers.
Learn More: Little Bins for Little Hands
12. Beach Erosion- Landform Model
A tray of sand, water, and some pebbles is all you need to build a working model of coastal erosion. With this experiment, students can see exactly how the smallest movements of water cause significant erosion.
Learn More: Little Bins for Little Hands
13. Try a Chemical Weathering Experiment
This experiment has students discovering how chemical weathering can affect copper using pennies and vinegar. Like the Statue of Liberty, copper pennies turn green when exposed to harsh elements.
Learn More: STEAMsational
14. Virtual Field Trip
Field trips are favorites for regular and homeschooled students. See the effects of erosion and weathering in the real world by taking a virtual field trip (or a real one) to a cave system. Students can see the true effects of erosion on the landscape by seeing the landforms carved by elements.
Learn More: National Parks Service
15. Teach Students About Weathering with Salt Blocks
While this video demonstrates the effects of chemical weathering on a large scale, a similar experiment could easily be implemented in the classroom with a smaller salt block. Here, students observed how a water drip caused erosion in a salt block over a day. What a great simulation of weathering!
Learn More: Cobrrdrr
16. Glacial Erosion Classroom Presentation
A block of ice, a stack of books, and a tray of sand are all you need to build a glacial erosion model to observe changes to the landscape. This experiment is a three-in-one demonstration of erosion, runoff, and deposition. What a great way to capture all of those NGSS science standards.
Learn More: Michigan Science Center
17. Beach Erosion STEM
This fun STEM activity was built for 4th-grade students. Over a day, students are required to plan, design, build, test, and retest their design for a tool or product that prevents erosion of a sand beach.
Learn More: Anchoring Down in Second Grade
18. Blend 4th Grade Science and Cursive
This is an easy way to blend science into other subject areas. Print a set of weathering, erosion, rock cycle, and deposition worksheets to review science concepts and practice cursive writing.
Learn More: Teachers Pay Teachers
19. Mechanical Weathering Experiment
Soil, seeds, plaster, and time are all you need to show your students the mechanical weathering process. Seeds are soaked in water, then partially embedded in a thin layer of plaster. Over time, the seeds will sprout, causing the plaster around them to crack.
Learn More: Science Matters Blog
20. Explore Windbreaks to Combat Wind Erosion
This STEM activity aims to teach students about one way of preventing wind erosion–the windbreak. Using Lego bricks, students build a windbreak to help prevent their soil (tufts of yarn) from blowing away in the wind.
Learn More: Andrea Knight